Not in Beijing, Not in Shanghai, Not in Shenzhen: A Different Model of Teaching American Law in China

Vol. 43 No. 2


Ming-Yu Bob Kao is a visiting professor at Henan University Law School in the People’s Republic of China. He previously practiced housing and consumer law at nonprofit organizations in California.

“Why Henan?” is a question I have been asked often in China. Since September 2013, I have been a visiting professor at Henan University Law School in the city of Kaifeng, located in the central Chinese province of Henan. Kaifeng, the capital of seven Chinese dynasties, was also the base of the famous jurist Bao Gong, a judge and official in the early 1000s who is a symbol of justice in China and the subject of many television series. Henan University was founded in 1912 as the Preparatory School for Further Study in Europe and America, and, as the name indicates, the school had an international mission to train students to study abroad.

Despite the historic allure of Henan University and Kaifeng and the attraction of Henan as a tourist destination (it is home of the Shaolin Temple and Longmen Grottoes, both UNESCO World Heritage sites), the province is not generally seen by Chinese people in other provinces as a place to settle down. I am here, however, for a year, and possibly longer, to teach American law in English to Chinese law students.

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